When we were growing up, many of us learned about love from the sugar-coated world of Disney. But, as it turns out, nailing that happy-ever-after ending is a lot harder than Cinderella made it seem.
Real relationships take a lot more work than a magical meet-cute and true love’s kiss – and it can be even harder when you’re in the public eye, so intense is the scrutiny you face as a couple. It makes sense, then, that those celebrities who make it work know a lot about love. And so, when they start dishing their hard-earned words of wisdom on the subject, we absolutely sit up and listen.
With that thought in mind, here are some of our favourite celebrity quotes on long-lasting love.
Emma Willis: don’t expect perfection
“You know what? Maybe there’s not a secret,” Willis said, when asked about the secret to her and Matt’s long-term marriage. “You’ve just got to work at it and spend time together and appreciate each other. And yeah, you’ll piss each other off from time to time. Nobody’s perfect. But if you don’t expect perfection, you’ll be fine.”
Rihanna: make time for one another
When discussing her own relationship recently, Rihanna said: “It was like, ‘I need to make time for this.’ Just like I nurture my businesses, I need to nurture this as well.”
Rihanna went on to explain that, in order to ensure she prioritises her relationship, she schedules personal days on her calendar so she has time to focus on it.
“I’ll shut things down for two days, three days at a time,” she revealed. “On my calendar we now have the infamous ‘P,’ which means personal days. This is a new thing.”
Tom Hanks: take on the bad times together
“You just clear the decks and you circle the wagons and you hunker down. It’s not that hard to do,” Hanks said, explaining how he and wife Rita Wilson faced her cancer diagnosis together.
“It’s like when there’s a big rainstorm outside, you bust out the hot cocoa and make sure everyone is comfortable.”
Goldie Hawn: don’t be afraid to argue
“You have to learn how to work your way through an argument and be skilful about it and resolve it,” Hawn said, when asked how she and Kurt Russell make their relationship work.
“Things happen during a marriage or a union, things that are said that shouldn’t have been said, or things that are done that shouldn’t have been done, or you feel neglected.”
Will Smith: don’t quit on each other
“You can’t expect it to be easy,” Smith said of his marriage to Jada Pinkett. “It’s like our marriage was the most difficult, grueling, excruciating thing that we have ever taken on in our lives. And you know, we’re just not quitters.
“If there is a secret, I would say it’s that we never went into working in our relationship. We only ever worked on ourselves individually, and then presented ourselves to one another better than we were previously…
“Really, at the end of the day, it’s just not quitting.”
Ellen DeGeneres: stay grateful
“Portia (de Rossi) and I constantly say to each other, ‘We are so lucky’,” said DeGeneres.
“Sometimes it’s lying in bed at night before I go to sleep, and I just say thank you to whatever, whoever is out there.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar: get ready to put the work in
Cultivating a relationship in a society obsessed with instant gratification, novelty and distraction is a challenge. But, as Gellar has explained, relationships don’t flourish by yielding to temptation.
“We live in a very disposable society and people don’t want to have to work,” she said. “They want immediate reactions, they want immediate responses.
“It takes work to have a good friendship,” she continued. “You have to call and check in and dedicate that time, and most people aren’t willing to put that work in. So to have a successful relationship, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s friendship, whether it’s business, you have to put the time, if you want to see the results.”
Beyoncé: maintain your independence
“I was independent before I met my husband, and we have such a natural chemistry and a genuine relationship, and it’s based on the things that relationships are supposed to be based on,” Beyoncé told GQ.
“I’ve seen, growing up, when a woman or a man in a relationship, it doesn’t matter which one, doesn’t feel confident, they feel a bit trapped. Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.”
Kristen Bell: remember, it’s never ‘easy’
“Long-term love is uncomfortable, but worth it,” Bell said, reminding her fans to “try hard” when it comes to their relationships.
“Also be vulnerable. No one does it right, so forgive and then be vulnerable again.”
Chrissy Teigen: enjoy some time apart
“Travel away from each other a lot: that helps,” Teigen once said, when asked about her happy marriage to John Legend. “We’re not together 365. It’s nice to be able to really be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I miss you. I miss you so much.’ That works for both of us.”
Blake Lively: be friends first, lovers second
Of her husband Ryan Reynolds, Lively has said: “In other relationships, if something came up I would call my girlfriends or my sister, and say, ‘Hey, this is what he did – what should I do?’ Whereas with him, we were friends for two years before we were ever dating. And I treat him like my girlfriend.”
Which, yes, boils down to simply being friends. But the Gossip Girl star went on to explain that this doesn’t just mean trotting out the whole “Oh, my partner is my best friend as well as my lover” thing, but actually treating him like one and opening up to him as she does with her besties – letting him know how she’s feeling, what made her feel that way and why.
“I’m like, ‘Hey, this happened. It upset me. This is how I feel. What do I do?’”
The process works because she says Reynolds – whom Lively married in 2012 – follows her example.
“He does the same for me,” she says. “He treats me like his best buddy.”